U.S. fighters stand near military vehicles, north of Raqqa city, Syria November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi Said
Reuters: U.S.-backed Syrian alliance declares attack on Islamic State in Raqqa
A U.S.-backed alliance of Syrian armed groups said on Sunday it had launched an operation to retake the northern city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State in Syria.
The new offensive ratchets up pressure on the militant group at a critical moment, with its fighters already battling an assault by Iraqi security forces on their remaining Iraqi stronghold in the northern city of Mosul.
A statement issued by the U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab armed groups, said the campaign, called Euphrates Anger, had begun on Saturday evening. An SDF spokesman had earlier been quoted on Sunday saying it would start within hours.
"The general command of the Syria Democratic Forces announces the blessed start of its major military campaign to liberate the city of Raqqa," Jehan Sheikh Amad, an SDF spokeswoman, told a news conference in the Syrian town of Ain Issa, 50 km (30 miles) north of Raqqa.
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